Tutorial - Create your Own MIDI Controlled Wah Pedal

Tutorial Description

This tutorial will help you create your own MIDI controlled Wah pedal and customize its parameters to match an existing Wah pedal or create a brand new virtual one: yours. You can use this custom wah pedal with your guitar, but it is also very useful with an organ or a synthesizer (remember: in the good old days, many hammond organ players had fun with Wah pedals). This tutorial uses Cakewalk Sonar 5, but it is applicable to any other VST or DirectX host software. If you have issues setting up your host software to control MIDI parameters, please refer to our other Tutorials.

Step By Step

00 - Connect the MIDI output of your foot controller to the MIDI in of your computer, launch and setup your host software:

Step 00 - Connect the MIDI output of your foot controller to the MIDI in of your computer, launch and setup your host software

01 - Insert the Triple EQ plug-in on the guitar track:

Step 01 - Insert the Triple EQ plug-in on the guitar track

02 - On a MIDI track, assign the output to the Triple EQ plug-in (for all channels):

Step 02 - On a MIDI track, assign the output to the Triple EQ plug-in (for all channels)

03 - Go back to the Triple EQ plug-in and right click to open the presets settings:

Step 03 - Go back to the Triple EQ plug-in and right click to open the presets settings

04 - Uncheck the 'use global settings' option:

Step 04 - Uncheck the 'use global settings' option

05 - Activate the frequency parameter and click on 'learn':

Step 05 - Activate the frequency parameter and click on 'learn'

06 - Move your MIDI controller:

Step 06 - Move your MIDI controller

07 - The right MIDI channel and CC number have been automatically assigned (if not, check your MIDI connections and assignments):

Step 07 - The right MIDI channel and CC number have been automatically assigned (if not, check your MIDI connections and assignments)

08 - Set the min and max frequency values for your wah (depends on the wah effect you want to simulate but 280-2k Hz is a good example):

Step 08 - Set the min and max frequency values for your wah (depends on the wah effect you want to simulate but 280-2k Hz is a good example)

09 - Set the response curve to 'Slow 4' (We want the MIDI controller to follow the logarithmic curve of our ear's frequency sensitivity):

Step 09 - Set the response curve to 'Slow 4' (We want the MIDI controller to follow the logarithmic curve of our ear's frequency sensitivity)

10 - Click on 'OK' to save changes, the MIDI setup is now complete:

Step 10 - Click on 'OK' to save changes, the MIDI setup is now complete

11 - Adjust the Triple EQ parameters:

Step 11 - Adjust the Triple EQ parameters

11.1 - Detailed Settings:

  • Boost the Mid to max
  • Set the Low and High bands to Min
  • The bandwidth should be set from 2 to 4 octava
  • Adjust the input gain to avoid clipping

12 - Enable 'audio input echo' on the track to hear the sound (and mute all audio inputs in your soundcard settings, or you will hear the dry sound too):

Step 12 - Enable 'audio input echo' on the track to hear the sound (and mute all audio inputs in your soundcard settings, or you will hear the dry sound too)

13 - Your wah pedal is now setup, move your foot and play:

Step 13 - Your wah pedal is now setup, move your foot and play

14 - Improvements - customize the bandwith of the wah pedal:

Step 14 - Improvements - customize the bandwith of the wah pedal

16 - Improvements - for a lighter wah effect, reduce the difference between the mid boost and low,high cut:

Step 16 - Improvements - for a lighter wah effect, reduce the difference between the mid boost and low,high cut

17 - Improvements - in the preset MIDI settings, you can adjust the min and max frequency values of the wah pedal:

Step 17 - Improvements - in the preset MIDI settings, you can adjust the min and max frequency values of the wah pedal

18 - Improvements - in the preset MIDI settings, assign the Bandwith parameter to the same controller (real wah pedals may have a variable bandwidth):

Step 18 - Improvements - in the preset MIDI settings, assign the Bandwith parameter to the same controller (real wah pedals may have a variable bandwidth)

19 - Improvements - customize the Wah pedal response curve to match your foot feelings. You will usually use the 'linear' to 'slow5' range:

Step 19 - Improvements - customize the Wah pedal response curve to match your foot feelings. You will usually use the 'linear' to 'slow5' range

Conclusion

You can now enjoy your own real time Wah pedal. You may want to have a look to our other Tutorials to learn how to record automation from your foot controller and manually adjust the resulting envelope, so that the wah movements match your song perfectly.

Any questions, comments? You want to submit your own tutorial to win a free license? Please post on our Forum!